Monday, May 31, 2010

7 Elements for a WoW Presentation

I’ve been thinking about presentations as I begin to prepare for our upcoming seminars. I want to insure that everyone is engaged and is passionate about creating WoW moments even before they leave. When you think about seminars how many do you recall when you walked out saying WoW!? If you are like me, even though you may be very selective, the WoW sessions are few and far between.

During my years as a training manager I had the opportunity to not only speak to many audiences, but also watch many presentations, those with educational content and those delivering a message. I believe these 7 steps can help everyone deliver a WoW presentation. As you prepare write these steps down and then write how you will accomplish each step.

1. Know your audience! Always remember you are not the star, you’re audience is. They have come to learn from you, but in order for your message to resonate it has to be relevant. Focus on one topic and have three key takeaways. Engineers typically need visuals and diagrams, sales people need energy and movement.

2. Prepare! No matter how professional and experienced you are you must know your content inside and out. Once you understand your audience research their demographic and be able to weave it into the presentation. Practice and hone your delivery. No one wants to listen to a scripted presenter and if you know your content you can move through with the tempo needed for any given audience. Body language matters! If you are most comfortable standing behind a podium insure you have movement in the tone of your voice & presentation. If you like to “dance” on the stage find marks to stand for at least 2 – 3 minutes. Dancing around on stage is distracting and takes away from your message.

3. Connect! Every presentation that I remember started with an emotional connection. A moving or funny story, a connection to the association or group you are speaking to, a mention of the city or company. Find a way to connect. Always remember why would someone sit up and WANT to listen. Be interactive with your audience as appropriate. A show of hands in the middle of a presentation can really break things up. This gains ownership and keeps the audience thinking, maybe he is going to ask another question.

4. Be Passionate! If you are not passionate about your topic, don’t present. You must show emotion and be passionate. If the topic you’ve chosen or have been given is simply boring, mix in a relevant story or anecdote. If you are tired, do five minutes of aerobic activity and deep breathing prior to starting.

5. Stay Focused! Share your agenda with the audience up front; let them know what you are going to talk about and what your key points will be. This keeps you honest as you must deliver. Keep a list of bullet points you must address, and in order, on a note card or on the podium. You need to know this like the back of your hand. Do not rely on Microsoft PowerPoint™. Use a flip chart if this keeps you on track. Have someone in the front row flash time cards in fifteen, then ten, then five minute intervals with a time is up card to insure you finish on time.

6. Q&A! If time permits always end with at least two or three questions. The most important thing about Q&A – repeat the question! This not only insures the audience hears the question, but more importantly it lets you hear the question once again to insure you answer the question. At all costs do not go into a long story or answer. Be as succinct as possible so you can stay focused and so others can ask questions as well.

7. Thank you & Contact Information! Always remember to thank those who’ve invited you and the audience. Remember to direct everyone to a place where they can find your contact information.

It is amazing, isn't it? The elements of creating a WoW Presentation are actually very similar, if not the same, as creating WoW moments in any envirornment! Remember it is always about the customer - in this case the audience!

Terrie Rolwes

Wow Customer Experience Group

Every Moment Can Be A WoW Moment!

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